Editing genes, ageing populations, rising sea levels… the world is moving faster than ever. What will those trends mean for our society over the next 30 years?
Over the last few months, BBC Future Now has been examining some of the biggest problems humankind faces right now: land use to accommodate exploding populations, the future of nuclear energy, the chasm between rich and poor – and much more.
But what about the big challenges that are brewing for the future? In 30 years, what might be on the world’s agenda to solve? It’s impossible to predict, but we can get clues from how current trends in science and technology may play out. Here are just some of the potential big issues of tomorrow:
Genetic modification of humans
Debates among scientists started roaring last year over a new technology that lets us edit human DNA. It’s called Crispr (pronounced ‘crisper’) and it’s a means of altering people’s DNA to carve diseases like cancer out of the equation.
Sounds great, right? But what if takes a dark ethical turn, and it turns into a eugenics-esque vanity project to churn out ‘designer babies’, selecting embryos that produce babies that will have a certain amount of intelligence or that have certain physical characteristics?